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Cardiff Garcia

Cardiff Garcia is a co-host of NPR's The Indicator from Planet Money. He joined NPR in November 2017.

Previously, Garcia was the U.S. editor of FT Alphaville, the flagship economics and finance blog of the Financial Times, where for seven years he wrote and edited stories about the U.S. economy and financial markets. He was also the founder and host of FT Alphachat, the Financial Times's award-winning business and economics podcast.

As a guest commentator, he has regularly appeared on media outlets such as Marketplace Radio, WNYC, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, the BBC, and others.

Bill McBride has been making accurate predictions on his blog, Calculated Risk, about the trajectory of the U.S. economy since before the financial crisis.

He's been consistently optimistic for years, but he recently revised his usually sunny outlook.

Today he tells us why.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


In one of our favorite recurring segments, we ask our guest to tell us about something they read that changed the way they think about the world.

Tyler Cowen is an economist at George Mason University, but here at The Indicator we like to think of him as a speed-reading, hyper-prolific, polymath blogger — who does economics on the side.

We sometimes play a game with Tyler, a game he actually invented for his own podcast. It's called Overrated/Underrated. We ask him about a book, an idea, a movie, or really anything, and then he tells us whether he thinks it's overrated or underrated.

Today we discuss inflation as an economic threat, the influence of lobbyists, infrastructure, and Chinese food.

We're trying a new thing (for us): We ask guests to tell us about something they read that changed how they see the world.

Today, Diane Coyle — an economist who writes a blog about economics books — tells us about Micromotives and Macrobehavior by Thomas Schelling.

Coyle says it's helped her understand everything from why it's so hard to get the water temperature in the shower just right to why ABBA wore such ostentatious costumes on stage.

Stimulus Response

Feb 14, 2018

Jared Bernstein has a dilemma. He's a liberal economist, and he's been saying for years that the U.S. needs stimulus — some combination of higher spending and lower taxes — to drive up wages for workers.

Congress and the President recently passed bills to raise spending and cut taxes.

These weren't sold as stimulus packages. They are not Jared Bernstein's dream come true. But they are going to mean lower taxes and higher spending.

Dow De Ching

Feb 6, 2018

On today's show: Michael Batnick of Ritholtz Wealth Management explains why the last few days in the stock market were normal market behavior. Also: Why the stock market drop is good for lots of people, and largely irrelevant for even more.

Music by Drop Electric. Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

The monthly jobs report is out. The headline numbers tend to bounce around a lot, so today on the show, we take the long view. We look at three groups that got hammered especially hard during the recession and ask: How are they doing now?

Those groups are:

People who are working part time but want to be working full time:

African-American workers:

High-school graduates who did not go to college:

Today's indicator is $2.2 trillion. That's about how much stuff — goods and services — the U.S. sells to the rest of the world every year.

That figure captures not only airplanes and cars, but also some visits to Disney World. Also, blood. Lots of blood.

Our guest is Charles Kenny of the Center for Global Development.

Google Selfies

Jan 23, 2018

Today's show is about Google art selfies, the value of biometric data, and the law.

We talk to a data expert who can't use Google art selfies because his state prohibits it. He makes a case for how to manage the coming boom in biometric data.

Also, we see what famous portraits we look like (according to Google). It's not pretty.

There's a warning sign for the economy with an amazing track record: The last five times it flashed, the U.S. economy went into recession within about a year.

This economic crystal ball takes the views of people and institutions from from all around the world and boils them down into a single, simple signal.

That signal is called the yield curve. It's not flashing now, at least not yet, but it might be close enough to make you nervous.

In 2013, Jackson Palmer started paying close attention to cryptocurrencies — bitcoin, and everything that came after. Things seemed a little bubbly.

Also big back in 2013: Doge, an Internet meme that featured an adorable dog and strange syntax.

Jackson sent off a random tweet about "Dogecoin" — just a throwaway joke. But one thing led to another, and Dogecoin became a real thing. Jackson tried to keep Dogecoin light and fun — it was for learning about cryptocurrency, and giving money to charity.

Then things turned dark.

Income inequality is rising. Over the past few decades, the rich have seen huge gains, while incomes for the middle class and the poor have largely stagnated.

Lots of people have ideas for how to get middle-class incomes growing again. On today's show: Branko Milanovic, one of the most insightful economists we know on this subject, says a lot of those ideas won't be that helpful in the 21st-century economy. He has some surprising ideas about what will.

Today's Planet Money indicator is zero. Earlier today, a bill transforming America's tax code was approved by congress with zero Democratic votes.

On today's show, we talk with Josh Barro. He points out a problem Democrats have been struggling with for a while: Most Democratic candidates promise not to raise taxes on the middle class, but also want to expand social programs.

Barro argues that, in the long run, the Republican tax bill could help the Democrats solve this problem.

Forget Neutrality

Dec 15, 2017

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to end net neutrality — a rule that required internet providers to treat all web traffic equally.

The decision was really controversial. And a lot of the controversy boils down to a single number. As luck would have it, that number is today's indicator: 58 percent. As in, 58 percent of Americans have access to at most one option for broadband Internet.

On today's show, how the broadband market got the way it is, and what it means for the debate over net neutrality.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Today's Planet Money indicator is 4.55 percent. The Federal Reserve said just this afternoon that the American economy is at full employment when the unemployment rate is 4.55 percent.

The Fed updates this estimate every few months. And for years, it's been getting the number wrong.

Today on the show, what is full employment, why is it so hard to pin down, and most importantly, are we there yet?

One of the things we do at the Indicator is steal stuff we like from other podcasts. Today, we're stealing from Tyler Cowen. He's an economist and public intellectual who has his own podcast (of course).

It's an interview show, and in the middle of every episode Tyler does this thing we love: He goes through a list of subjects and asks the guest to say whether each subject is overrated or underrated, and to explain why.

When Republicans launched their tax push this fall, they said, here's the plan: We are going to lower taxes for people and companies. And part of the way we're going to pay for that is by getting rid of loopholes and special deductions and lots of little perks hiding in the tax code.

Today on the show: What happened to that plan, and what it says about the way our tax code works.